Friday 18 December 2020


Let's Tone Down on Christmas Presents Without Guilt


In general, the Chinese are stereotyped to be unromantic. Westerners are stereotyped to be romantic.
Well, this can’t play itself out any more clearly than during Christmas.

When it comes to giving gifts, the westerners give presents, and the Chinese give red packets. 
And in this area of gift-giving, I can’t be more hopelessly Chinese!!!

When I first gave “angbaos” to my 9 Danish nieces and nephews for their birthdays instead of presents, I could feel their parents' disbelief. How could she give money in a little red envelope and considered it a present? This is so weird and so unromantic!!! (I hope that my Danish side of the family isn’t reading my Facebook post!!!) Talking about culture-shock!!!

I have since changed to be, ahem, more Danish, only to discover that slowly and slowly, I am noticing that my Danish side of the family is giving more and more “angbaos” to the children during birthdays (except that their angbaos are not red, but money placed in a white envelope)!!! Somewhere along the line, they got tired and stressed to have to shop for birthday presents for 11 nieces and nephews as well!!!

I really struggle with buying presents. As Joshua gets older, it gets harder and harder to find presents for him and to enjoy the process of buying presents for him. And the ultimate is the 24-presents Christmas calendar. This year, we did away with it and introduced the 4-presents Advent calendar instead. Even that, we struggled to find exciting gifts for Joshua, ending up with giving him 3 books of the same series… (oh how boring I know)

To be fun-loving like a true Danish mommy, I ended up feeling stressed. And truth be told, I bet Danish moms can feel stressed over buying presents too!!!

And a stressed mom cannot make things fun for her kids. And a stressed mom cannot make things romantic for her marriage 😉 

Well, for example, Daddy FECS would much prefer that I come over with a cup of tea to him then saying, “Please make your own tea and cook your own dinner okay, because I am stressed out trying to buy presents for everyone.” And isn’t it romantic to be able to serve your hubby tea and dinner cheerfully? Ok, it's probably the Chinese in me that has this perspective!

My struggles with buying present actually enable me to cut Daddy FECS some slack. This Christmas, when I see all the romantic presents husbands give to their wives for Christmas posted all over Facebook, I am better able to say to Daddy FECS, “Don’t stress about not buying any exciting presents for me. I still love you the way you are.”

Now I just have to make sure that I walk my talk, that when all those Facebook posts of presents presented by husbands to their wives appear, my heart doesn’t scream with envy for those wives!!

P.S. To be fair, Daddy FECS does give exciting presents to me. For example, all the expensive machines and pieces of equipment that I asked for in the kitchen 🙂 True, the element of surprise is missing, as I already know what is in the present since I tell him exactly which model to buy. But he sometimes buys a more expensive model and newer model for me, without me asking, and without telling me.

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